Feds Try Mobile Video, 3G Tethering - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Mobile
News
3/24/2010
12:28 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Feds Try Mobile Video, 3G Tethering

The ATF is testing video surveillance on Windows Mobile devices, while the IRS is looking to replace its 25,000 3G cards by tethering smartphones to laptops.

In many ways, the federal government has long been playing from behind when it comes to mobile computing, but that's about to change at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Internal Revenue Service, which are experimenting with mobile video and tethering phones to laptops for mobile broadband.

The ATF is currently running a pilot with Windows Mobile 6 on about 150 Samsung and HTC smartphones, testing both enterprise applications and mobile video. Within the next two months, ATF will also move to begin testing iPhones, ATF CIO Rick Holgate said Wednesday at the FOSE federal IT trade show.

The video pilot, running on about half of the smartphones in the overall pilot, focuses on surveillance video. Agents in the field can use the devices to monitor surveillance video being taken by IP cameras around the country. These cameras monitor for for criminal activity ranging from drug trafficking to bomb making to violent crime, Holgate said.

"The need for mobile video is largely driven by this surveillance need," Holgate said, adding that the ATF largely identified prospects for the pilot based on their individual need to view surveillance video. "You never know where your people are going to be when things happen."

Beyond iPhones, the next phase of the pilot -- which will focus on both mobile video and business intelligence -- the ATF is still sorting out its longer-term smartphone plans. Several issues Holgate says the agency needs to work through include standardization, whether mobile devices might eventually replace some of the agency's laptops, and authentication.

Meanwhile, the IRS is looking to tether handheld devices to laptops in order to move away from the use of 3G wireless access cards. Right now, the IRS has 25,000 wireless access cards, but usage is far from 100%, so money is being wasted, said David Stender, the IRS' associate CIO for cybersecurity.

The IRS hasn't even yet brought the tethering capabilities out of its internal testing labs, but it is looking toward an eventual pilot. "We're starting off slow with this," said Stender, who will be managing the security aspect of the project.

Stender estimates that, today, about 10,000 IRS employees have Web-enabled mobile devices such as Blackberrys. The IRS has also or is looking to enable several other capabilities not typically found on government smartphones for security reasons, including Bluetooth and read-only access to Facebook and personal e-mail.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
2017 State of IT Report
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
Top IT Trends for 2018
As we enter a new year of technology planning, find out about the hot technologies organizations are using to advance their businesses and where the experts say IT is heading.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll